Publishing Info: January 21, 2014 by Macmillan
Genres: Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 2, 2014
One shocking afternoon, computers around the globe shut down in a viral catastrophe. At sixteen-year-old Adam Daley’s high school, the problem first seems to be a typical electrical outage, until students discover that cell phones are down, municipal utilities are failing, and a few computer-free cars like Adam’s are the only vehicles that function. Driving home, Adam encounters a storm tide of anger and fear as the region becomes paralyzed. Soon—as resources dwindle, crises mount, and chaos descends—he will see his suburban neighborhood band together for protection. And Adam will understand that having a police captain for a mother and a retired government spy living next door are not just the facts of his life but the keys to his survival, in The Rule of Three by Eric Walters.
THE RULE OF THREE was an interesting read for me! It has a lot of elements that I’ve really been enjoying lately: male POV, a pre-apocalyptic atmosphere (things just starting to unravel), some action, and a little bit of mystery. I was hoping it would be comparable to MONUMENT 14 which is a similar set of books that I really enjoyed, and in some ways it did, but in others, the story fell short for me.
THE RULE OF THREE starts off with sixteen-year-old Adam at school when all of a sudden the electricity shuts off. And not just the electricity — laptop batteries, cars, basically anything that functions on electricity or is operated a computer no longer works at all. It was actually really eye-opening to see exactly how many things we use day-to-day that work using computer technology and all of the technology we wouldn’t be able to use if this situation ever really occurred. I was kind of fascinated by the fact and how many things you wouldn’t even consider would be affected and how crippling something like that would be! It was really quite jarring.
I really appreciated the characters of this book. I loved the male voice of Adam and really these days, I’m just finding male POVs so refreshing in YA since the age group seems to be heavily saturated by female writers and protagonists. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but I like to switch it up so I was happy to see another YA book with a male main character! I really liked how Adam interacted with his family, his friends, and of course, he’s got a crush! The most interesting relationship of the book though was Adam’s interactions with his elderly neighbor Herb. Herb knows a thing or two. The neighborhood doesn’t seem to know much about his past but when the electro-bomb hits, Herb easily steps into a leadership role and helps the neighborhood prepare for survival.
I really liked Herb a lot at first and was incredibly intrigued by his past but admittedly… He wore on me after a while. Herb was the guy who knew it all and with that kind of knowledge, everyone relied on him. My issue was that he had ALL the answers. It seemed like there was never a situation where he was initially unsure. I guess in a survival situation like that, there’s not really room to be insecure, but it was hard to see someone who had all the answers, all the time, and it was so easy to convince people to follow what he said. Also since he had all of the answers, he inserted himself into every situation and I felt he became a bit overbearing and hard to deal with. Also, with all of his secrecy, I almost expected him to turn on the community at some point in time. I think I felt like he was maybe too militant and not as emotional as I had hoped to form that emotional connection. Then again, that was also something he relied on Adam for.
The action in this book was always moving. Adam and his community are constantly up against one thing or another that causes them to take both offensive and defensive action and with no power, there’s always a task to be done. Some of it was more exciting than others but in that kind of a situation, there’s a lot you need to do to prepare. My personal issue was that at about a third of the way through the book, I wasn’t quite sure where to go anymore. I felt like the action got a bit repetitive sometimes — not all the time, because new situations always arise — but really in that kind of survival situation, the same types of attacks and uprisings are bound to happen. I felt like it was hard to evolve the story line sometimes and still keep it realistic which ended up causing the book to slow a little bit.
My disappointment was with the ending. There were too many things left open, too many loose ends, and very important questions that I had since page five that never got answered. I wanted so much more resolution and it didn’t even feel like a cliffhanger so much as the book just ENDED. I felt like it wrapped up with “this is how their lives will be so just assume this is how they’ll keep going”.
In full disclosure, I actually JUST found out while writing my review (from someone else’s review on Goodreads) that this book is actually the first of a series. It’s not listed as so on Goodreads and as a reader and reviewer, I heavily rely on that information (although in this case, Goodreads may not always be accurate) but I also feel like I haven’t even seen it advertised as a series anywhere, not even on my ARC copy (unless I clearly missed it). I finished the book thinking it was going to be a stand alone and ended up mildly disappointed in the conclusion which I suppose may not even be a conclusion after all. Even still, the book didn’t quite wrap up as well as I would like, even if there are future books, because it really just felt kind of abrupt. I can see future books for this series, but even still, I’m not sure if I’ll pick them up. I liked Adam enough and felt like he was a really good protagonist but Herb just wore on me a lot towards the end of the book and I’m not motivated it pick up another book if he’ll be heavily featured in it. I’d really like to find out a few more answers but I’m not sure I’d go through another book or two to get them.
Adam // Character Obsessions: Surviving, taking care of his family, flying the Ultralight.
I really liked Adam as our main character! He was likable, charismatic, a bit naive but ultimately enjoyable. He was portrayed as the ray of hope for the community and the driving force for people to get behind and I really stood behind him too.
Herb // Character Obsessions: Organizing, leading, defense.
I liked Herb a lot at first but he really started to wear on me throughout the book. He seemed too convenient or too knowledgable or too assertive.
Kept Me Hooked On: Pre-apocalyptic. So many books featuring disasters are dystopian or post-apocalyptic. I’m really enjoying those books that show what happens before the world turns or as it’s turning.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot. This book was a lot of action and a lot of character interaction. While I liked both, I think I needed more of a plot reveal. There were some interesting mysteries and questions proposed, but they didn’t get resolved in this book and I think some of them should have. Even if the book is a series, I was hoping for a few more loose ends to be wrapped up at the end of book one, and book two could have continued on in a different or similar path instead of an incredibly long story arc for which we don’t get a lot of answers in the first book. Maybe that’s my own impatience talking, but I like for things to be a little bit wrapped up at the end of a book, even if it is a series!
Get a second opinion.
I did like a lot of things about this book but at the same time a lot of them weren’t for me. Some people fell in love with it and others seemed to have the same issues I did. I’d say consult Goodreads or trusted reviewers for a second opinion and make your decision from there! Maybe also find out if it’s actually supposed to be a series! 🙂
(Click the cover to see my review!)